Time for an #Elsagate investigation! Charles and Isaac are joined by Evan Williams and Dan D'Aprile for a dark trip down the rabbit hole that is #Elsagate, a broad description for a series of creepy and unsettling videos and cartoons showing up on YouTube, ostensibly aimed at children but featuring inappropriate imagery utilizing pop culture characters like Spider-Man and Elsa from Frozen. Theories abound regarding #Elsagate's origins: is it pedo ring communication? Russian asymmetrical warfare? Corporate intrigue? Everyone presents their own theories, from automation run amok to an attack on Google to force them to more stringently police user content. Everyone plays a game of "Guess Which Conspiracy Isaac Believes In." A very disturbing episode for the whole family!
If you like self-indulgent, meta-babbling, this is the episode for you! Isaac and Charles beg for your podcast reviews and then discuss whether episode titles should contain their number. Also debated: what the description of the show should be (and what it shouldn't be). Should there be a marketing plan? Charles pretentiously posits that Isaac is unable to hear what makes for a good episode because Charles has art school training. Isaac makes himself equally hateable by using the term "professional" repeatedly. They conclude by talking about their worst episodes. Anyway this is 50 minutes you won't ever get back. Maybe rate us after listening to a different episode.
A short conversation between Isaac and Charles on the nature of evil, spurred by Sword & Scale's infamous Episode 20! Should people be locked up just for thinking and expressing abhorrent thoughts? What is evil and why do humans commit evil deeds? Does Genghis Khan count as evil? Also Charles says something mean about actors.
*SPOILERS* Isaac and Charles do not agree on the new Blade Runner film. Isaac thinks it's boring and doesn't go anywhere, Charles thinks it's visually stunning and faithfully follows the aesthetic of the first film. Both agree that whether you like the first movie will determine your feelings about the second. Isaac thinks his distaste for the film is rooted in his lack of interest in stories about whether AI characters have human feelings; Charles posits that the film is a mirror image of the first. Also discussed: Southland Tales, Harrison Ford's performance, and why Ryan Gosling is a likable actor.
It's #MeToo time! Rachel Louie comes on the show to discuss the social media phenomenon and its implications for the advancement of the rights of women. Isaac, Charles, and Rachel all agree as to its value but have some concerns about whether #MeToo will go the way of many social media "awareness" campaigns and simply turn into just another attention-seeking mechanism. The proper pronunciation of the word "ogling" is heatedly disputed and then everyone reluctantly listens to a clip from "The View" about whether Ellen DeGeneres should have been OGLING Katy Perry's breasts. The word "boobs" is said excessively and Isaac describes how women cause men pain when they are scantily clad. This one's for the ladies!
Isaac and Charles go on a listening tour of the various hosts of shows on Gimlet Media, the Ira Glass-inspired narrative podcast company where everyone has an annoying voice, as well as Glass-adjacent NPR podcasts. Isaac plays clips from Reply All, StartUp, Homecoming, Heavyweight, Missing Richard Simmons, S-Town, and the granddaddy of them all: This American Life. The term "whimper fry" is defined and Isaac and Charles alternate cringing at everyone's ironic fake voices. Isaac believes it's a kind of class signaling, Charles proposes it's an attempt to maintain journalistic distance. Whatever the reason, you will be infuriated listening to these Brooklyn hipsters hesitantly croak through their copy.
An old Washington Post article on a "Pantsuit Power Flashmob" takes Isaac and Charles on a horrifying trip down memory lane. Here's the opening: "It came together in about a week. First, the idea for a punchy, uplifting dance video that would tell a story about diversity, difference and communal support. Then, 170 dancers, a few hours of rehearsals–and pantsuits. Lots of pantsuits." A bite-sized NAHF episode. Tell us if you want more content like this! We probably won't listen. Article discussed: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/arts-and-entertainment/wp/2016/10/07/pantsuit-power-flashmob-video-for-hillary-clinton-two-women-170-dancers-no-police/
A very special episode! A certain someone just got engaged and that's the topic for this show! Yes, it's a Facebook post you would scroll past come to life as Charles and Isaac discuss a tale of engagement, which includes: texting the news, proposing in caves, and having the surprise ruined numerous times. The hashtag #DixonSimpson will be used for all wedding news going forward. Also discussed: why some countries have renowned cuisine and others don't.
Harvey Harvey Harvey! What a naughty boy! Isaac and Charles take a deep dive into Harvey Weinstein's sleazy universe. They investigate the dirty details of the accusations against him, Weinstein's bizarre response, and the response to the response! Are the right and left held to different standards when it comes to sex scandals? Isaac keeps comparing Weinstein to Trump, which Charles criticizes. Charles asks Isaac to play "Which Gross Old Man Would You Prefer to Bang?" and the answer is not surprising. Lastly a point of disagreement emerges on how actively sexual harrassment in the workplace should be policed. On an unrelated note, we are hiring interns! Please apply to our hotel room.
Amanda Cohen and Heather Marulli stop by to discuss whether female comics are treated differently and if they receive special privileges as a result of their womanhood. Charles plays his favorite game: "Gotcha" Clips of Isaac, but this goes disastrously wrong! The tale of Isaac's open mic experience against the Blue Haired Woman is retold and Heather reveals she is attracted to balding, alcoholic comedians. Are there differences in why men perform vs. why women perform? Do some women get propped up as great comics? Is Tina Fey overrated? Listen to this episode if you like lady stuff or yelling.